By Janeal Downs
When a famous New York Yankee developed ALS in his thirties, unhealthy buy the famous speech he delivered to his fans when he retired due to complications from the disease led to scientists giving the disease an additional title, sale Lou Gehrig’s disease. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS is a rare disease and because of its rarity, cialis many are unfamiliar with its characteristics.
The Ice Bucket Challenge
Not until recently has there been a large awareness of the disease through social media with the Ice Bucket Challenge. Numerous people including celebrities, and even Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, have participated in the challenge which involves pouring a bucket of icy water over your head.
VCU professor Dr. James Bennett described the ice bucket as a transient 24 second cold water experience, or a stunt. “It’s a stunt that’s caught on and has led to many people through social media becoming a little bit more aware of ALS and it’s led to almost a hundred billion dollars being contributed to one of the national ALS organizations,” Bennett said. Bennett, who previously worked at University of Virginia said he has been involved in ALS research for about 15 years.
What is ALS?
Bennett described the disease as aggressive and “the worst disease in all of internal medicine” because when people get diagnosed with the disease, he said it is like giving them a death sentence. Bennett said ALS is similar to polio because people lose the loss of mobility in their face, arms and legs. They also lose the ability to swallow and breathe which is what leads to deaths.
Who does it affect?
Middle aged people tend to be affected the most by the disease, but even children have been affected by the disease. The disease is what Bennett calls an “orphan disease” because it affects 30 to 50 thousand people in the United States, which are relatively small numbers. Because it is rare it is hard to decipher but Bennett said current data suggests the disease does not affect one gender or race over others.
Oftentimes because its symptoms usually begins with muscle cramps similar to a charley horse that won’t go away, Bennett said symptoms can include twitching in some muscle groups which can also come from excessive exercising and from using caffeine. “This is a normal kind of thing that we all experience and then people experience this and it just doesn’t go away,” Bennett said. “It persists and spreads and that’s usually what they’re convinced something’s wrong and they have a lot of evaluations because in fact most people who have these symptoms do not have ALS fortunately but some do and it takes a while to get a proper diagnosis.”